What is Mandatory Paid Time Off?

When creating your benefits package, you might be surprised to know that some places will require your company to give sick leave or mandatory paid time off to your employees. Otherwise called mandatory paid time off, it can be hard to know what places require it and what places don’t.

Below we will explain what states have mandated laws that require an employer to offer paid sick leave to employees and how that might affect you. Also, we’ll talk about specific places that have special use and arrival laws.

What States Have Mandatory Paid Time Off? 

While more states are looking to pass laws with each passing year, at present, the only states that have laws on the books for paid time off are: 

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • New Jersey
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • Washington D.C.

Maine will be the next to join the list with their new laws going into effect in 2021. While there are many differences, all states are allowed to front-load paid time off. This means giving all the paid time off at the beginning of the year and let it be used as needed over the year.

Differences Among States

On the other hand, many things make the states different. For example, each state has statues about who which organizations have to follow the law and which don’t. Certain industries might be exempt in one state but not in another. 

In addition, accrual laws can make states differ widely in the execution of paid time off. Almost every state has a different accrual rate – meaning people working in each state will have to work for different amounts of time before earning sick leave. 

Additionally, defining events that qualify for sick leave in each state may be different as well. For example, in most states, you can take time off to watch family when they are sick, but only in some states can you also take time off as sick leave to attend medical appointments. 

Sick Leave by City & County

It’s not state level laws on mandatory paid time off that you should be worried about as an employer. In fact, there are dozens of cities and counties across the USA that mandate those working in their limits to give sick leave to their employees. Check out the following list of cities and areas with laws on the books that differ from the state they are in. 

  • Berkeley, California
  • Emeryville, California
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Oakland, California
  • San Diego, California
  • San Francisco, California
  • Santa Monica, California
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Cook County, Illinois
  • Montgomery County, Maryland
  • Duluth, Minnesota
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • St. Paul, Minnesota
  • New York City, New York
  • Westchester County, New York
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Austin, Texas
  • Dallas, Texas (coming soon)
  • San Antonio, Texas (coming soon)
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Tacoma, Washington

As you can see, many of these are in states that already have laws about paid leave. Since the state offers a minimum, this means the cities make the laws stricter and raise the bar for what’s required. 

On the other hand, there are some cities that are in states with no laws on the books. In this case, they are the end-all for the law in their area. In addition, companies that move into their city limit must start following these special laws right away. 

Unpaid Sick Leave

Just because your organization doesn’t have to offer paid sick leave, doesn’t mean your organization is exempt completely. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), if you have more than 50 employees, you have to give employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year. 

This leave can be used by eligible employees as parental leave or time to care for themselves or a family member with a serious health condition. In addition, just because your state doesn’t require you to give leave doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that 71% of employees get paid sick leave benefits. If you’re not offering this major perk, you could see your workforce look elsewhere for a job with benefits better than yours. Finally, always keep a lookout for laws that are changing to make sure you are in compliance with the latest federal, state, and local laws.

If you are struggling with compliance related issues, you can learn more from us at FoxHire by reaching out via phone or email.